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Early morning fire claims one life

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A fire in a basement suite of a rooming house claimed the life of a resident early Wednesday morning.

Emergency personnel were called to the scene in the 300 block of Enfield Crescent near Marion Street at approximately 5 a.m., where they discovered a fire in the St. Boniface-area complex.

It’s believed the fire started in the basement suite where the man lived. He was rushed to hospital in critical condition and later succumbed to his injuries.

Witnesses say the man was trapped in the suite as the fire spread throughout the suite.

"I woke up and smelled the smoke; the fire alarm went off for about 2-3 seconds. The only reason I woke up because I could smell it," said Tim Macklin, a resident in the five-suite rooming house.

"I’m a light sleeper. Everybody else was panicking."

June Jubinville, another resident in the home, said she was "freaked out" when she woke up and was told of the fire. Jubinville said she couldn’t believe the extent of the fire as she fled the home.

"We saw the flames when we came out of the house, (they were) pretty high," she said.

Macklin said he knew very little of the man who died in the blaze.

"I know him on and off," he said. "We weren’t friends or anything. He kept to himself, I kept to myself."

There were no other injuries.

Eight people lived in the two-storey rooming house. Residents were allowed to return to the house later Wednesday morning to retrieve their personal belongings.

Fire crews and members of the arson strike force continue to investigate. A spokesman with the fire department says the damage estimate is in the $15,000 range.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

History

Updated on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 12:04 PM CDT: Adds comments from residents.

1:08 PM: adds video

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